DON’T GET ME STARTED wonders how long it will take all the Eastern Conference opponents to realize that it won’t be wise to take shots at Sabres players as they have in the past few years.
The Sabres took to the ice and took off the gloves against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and winning the game 2-1. It was the Leafs first loss of the season and propelled the Buffalo Sabres into at least a tie for the top spot in the Easter Conference. Ryan Miller played a solid game allowing only one late goal on a Leafs power play. Miller came up with some big saves in the game. He had 33 of them.
It got interesting in the last 3 minutes when Toronto went all out to tie the game but flurry after flurry wound up with only one goal.
One thing that will probably be clear to Sabres fans is that they will probably be waiting for Lindy Ruff to send out John Scott and Patrick Kaleta on the ice as he did Monday night in Toronto. The Sabres are sending a quick message that opponents better not toy with the idea of bruising the bods of Sabres players, because they will have some toughies to contend with if they take liberties, as happened in the first two games.
The first message was sent to the Philadelphia Flyers when Stafford dropped the mitts. Monday night in Toronto, Lindy Ruff put Kaleta and Scott on the ice and it didn’t take long for them to get involved in the physical game. Fans barely got seated when Kaleta took a run at a Toronto player and then the hulking Scott tangled with Colton Orr of the Leafs for his first tussle of the year.
They staged a decent battle but it was Orr that won the decision, dropping Scott to the ice with a couple of shots. Then in the third period, it was Marcus Foligno’s turn to get into a battle he clearly won when he belted Fraser of the Leafs to the ice. They rested for 5 minutes in the box for their effort.
Unlike Sunday’s game when Buffalo treated its fans by sending 39 shots on the Flyers goalie in the 5-3 win, against the Leafs they were limited to 5 in the first period and 6 in the second period, yet two of those went in. Ryan Miller stopped 5 in the first and 6 in the second.
20 penalties were called in the game, 10 on Buffalo – with four majors to the quarter of pugilists.
The Sabres penalty killers are also sending word that they will do all they can to prevent pucks getting behind Miller on opposing power plays. Nursing a 1-0 lead, they managed to kill off a lengthy 5 on 3 as well as other Toronto power play opportunities. Unfortunately they did allow that one late goal.
As they did Sunday afternoon against the Flyers, the Sabres netted the first goal of the game when Cody Hodgson stationed himself in front of goalie Ben Scrivens and deflected a long shot by Christian Ehroff for his second goal of the season 8:51 into the game. Jason Pominville also picked up an assist on the play.
The Sabres then began a march into the penalty box. At 14:24, Stafford went off, followed by Tyler Myers at 14:45 putting the Leafs on a 5 on 3. Then at 16:01, Steve Ott also joined the teammates in the penalty box as the 5 on 3 continued. Ryan Miller made some key saves and a puck that went into the net was disallowed as the ref ruled Miller made the stop, since the ref may have lost sight of the puck.
Thanks to the number of penalties, the Leafs outshot Buffalo 13 to 5.
Opening the second period, Toronto kept huge pressure in the Buffalo zone as the Sabres couldn’t get the puck out. When they finally managed to get it out, Thomas Vanek skated out and sent a pass to Jason Pominville who went in alone on Scribner and pumped the shot behind him at 4:51 to give Buffalo the edge 2-0. It was the Sabres captain’s first goal of the season. The time was 9:40.
The line of Hodgson-Pominville-Vanek is beginning to put points on their resumes. Vanek had 5 points in the first game and one more.
After the Leafs hit the post for the second time in the game, Phil Kessel bumped Ryan Miller midway through the second period and Kaleta immediately went after him. Not much happened as both went to the box for interference, putting the teams on a 4 on 4. Kaleta received a minor and a 10 minute misconduct penalty.
At 11:13 Vanek was whistled for tripping putting Toronto on the power play skating 4 on 3 for a brief time. Once again, the Sabres penalty killers did their job and escaped without any damage as Miller made a couple big saves including one on Liles at the doorstep.
After two periods, the Leafs continued to have the edge in shots on goal 18-11. The final tally showed Toronto pouring pucks at Miller throughout the game – 17 in the third period for a total of 35 for the game while Buffalo had a total of 20 shots on Scribner.
In the third period, it was Buffalo trying to hold off the Leafs and give Ryan Miller his shutout. But with less than 3 minutes left in the game, Scribner was pulled for the 6th attacker and it paid off. Kaleta was whistled at 18:14. Right after the faceoff, Nazem Kadri took a slap shot that eluded Miller at 18:18 to close the gap.
Moment later, the puck went behind Miller but the ref ruled that it was put in there with a swipe of the hand.
So here come the Sabres with
gloves on sticks to open the game and gloves on ice whenever someone wants to test their mettle this season on Don’t Get Me Started.
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